The friendly woman at the hostel look puzzled and slightly anxious on my behalf when I told her where I was going to spend the day. ” Kilmartin? There’s not much there…” A statement that could not be further from the truth! Kilmartin glen is absolutely stuffed with prehistoric treasures – stone circles, burial chambers, rock carvings, a wonderful independent museum (and cafe). I have been before, and am sure I will be back. Coming here always feels a bit like visiting the ancestors.
I was first and only at the stones when I arrived early, and tried to imagine what it might have been like, 5000 years ago. The glen was used certainly as a place of ceremony and possibly celebration; would there have been parties and music and fires and feasting and people meeting up with old friends and making new ones? A bit like a pre-historic Glastonbury festival? Long before designer wellies or phones (smart or otherwise) were a glimmer in anybody’s eye.
There’s much more about the history of this special place on the museum’s website here http://www.kilmartin.org/
A whole day exploring the cairns and stones, with no rain despite the forecast. And an opportunity to look at items in the museum relating to string. One item is a basket made from leaves of yellow iris, a reconstruction of a fragment found in Ireland. I have harvested some of the same leaves, which are in such abundance all around, and will dry them before making a sample.
On Sunday I went exploring to try and find a rock carving beyond Carnasserie Castle at the top of the glen. I met a woman with a map, who was not too sure about following it. I had no map but a fair chance of reading one, so we teamed up together and SUCCESS! The rock was at Ormaig. I was impressed despite being spoilt by the wonderful array of carvings in Northumberland. There is a description with photos here http://www.geograph.org.uk/snippet/9355